Ellery Queen (1975–1976)
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The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument 

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Edgar Manning, a mystery writer, wins the annual Blunt Instrument Award for his year's work and goes to pick it up at a party. Ellery, who was Edgar's rival for the award, is sidelined ... See full summary »


Ernest Pintoff


Frederic Dannay (characters created by) (as Ellery Queen), Michael Robert David (story) | 5 more credits »





Episode cast overview:
Jim Hutton ... Ellery Queen
David Wayne ... Inspector Richard Queen
John Dehner ... George Tisdale
Eva Gabor ... Magda Szomony
Richard Jaeckel ... Nick McVey
Dean Stockwell ... Cliff Waddell
Tom Reese ... Sgt. Thomas Velie
Keene Curtis ... Edgar Manning
Ellen Weston Ellen Weston ... Mary Parks
Joanna Barnes ... Camellia Justice
Clyde Kusatsu ... Mateo
Robert Casper ... Melville


Edgar Manning, a mystery writer, wins the annual Blunt Instrument Award for his year's work and goes to pick it up at a party. Ellery, who was Edgar's rival for the award, is sidelined because of a nasty cold. So Edgar gleefully phones Ellery and gives a blow-by-blow description of the award ceremony (including describing the trophy) as he leans back in his easy chair. But the phone call is interrupted by a sickening thud. Ellery calls out to Edgar but gets no response. Cut back to Edgar, who's now face down on his desk. His skull was shattered by ... The Blunt Instrument, the trophy itself. Written by Peter Harris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Family | Mystery







Release Date:

18 December 1975 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


For an aficionado people know that the awards dinner seen is supposed to be The Mystery Writers of America. However, it says Crime Writers of America. Fans should know it could also be a nod to the Crime Writers Association based in Great Britain. See more »


Ellery Queen walks around the crime scene looking for clues. He is not wearing his hat. He exits the living room and once he enters the other room, he is wearing his hat. See more »


George Tisdale: Camellia, if it's a fight you want, you can have it! Heaven knows we had enough practice while we were married!
See more »


References She-Wolf of London (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

Ellery has a bad cold
2 November 2009 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

Episode 11, "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument," refers to the award given to the year's outstanding mystery novel, shaped like a mallet. For his latest book, "The Shanghai Solution," Edgar Manning (Keene Curtis, later of CHEERS) is the award's latest recipient, inviting a few guests for a celebration in his apartment afterwards. His research assistant, Cliff Waddell (Dean Stockwell), proposes a toast to the author of "The Shanghai Solution," and Manning himself insists they drink to his death, since he has many enemies. During a phone conversation with Ellery Queen, unable to attend due to a severe head cold, Edgar Manning is murdered by, as he puts it, 'some rash person who wants to balance the books.' Among the other guests present were Mary Parks (Ellen Weston), Manning's secretary, whom he was supposedly going to fire, Nick McVey (Richard Jaeckel), a tough-guy rival author who boasts that his books are outselling Manning's, Magda Szomony (Eva Gabor), an actress who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe and is now living illegally in the US (a fact which Manning held over her by refusing to marry her), and George Tisdale (John Dehner), Manning's publisher, who feared that Edgar would switch over to a company run by Tisdale's former wife, Camellia Justice (Joanna Barnes). A subsequent audit of Tisdale's company reveals a $5000 deficit, resulting in the arrest of embezzling accountant Stephen Osterwald (an unbilled Robert Cornthwaite). Inspector Queen's discussion with Captain Hill (an unbilled Ross Elliott, previously seen as the Judge in the original ELLERY QUEEN pilot) reveals that Cliff Waddell couldn't have killed Manning, who was struck with a blow to the head by the 'blunt instrument' award itself, due to injuries suffered in Okinawa, earning Waddell the Navy Cross for distinguished service in the line of duty. Waddell was attended to by the Captain himself, with shrapnel in his right leg and both arms, making it impossible for him to raise them above his waist to kill anyone. Waddell adds that he left Manning's party to attend an all-night movie house showing "She-Wolf of London" and "The Spider Woman Strikes Back," both actual 1946 releases from Universal Pictures, though not together (Ellery even excitedly mentions the star of the latter feature, Gale Sondergaard). Clyde Kusatsu appears as Mateo, Manning's houseboy, who apparently left the gathering and returned home before the murder occurred. Ellery is amusingly wheezing and sneezing throughout, and vetoes his father's proffered remedies such as tea (which needs more gin).

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